Preparations for harvest are well under way with the Mascani winter oats first to be cut at the end of July. The earliest of the spring barley will be at least a week later, but once we start it will ripen as quickly as we will harvest it.
Although drilling was spread out over three weeks in the spring, these crops will all be ripe by the second week of August. An application of Roundup Gold (glyphosate) will help ripen these crops and improve harvesting. Late season rain may cause stems to remain green even though the grain is ripe.
This is also the best opportunity I have to clean up annual meadowgrass, leaving clean stubbles ahead of the cultivator. This has proved itself over the last few years and fields are virtually grass-free. The switch to spring cereals has certainly helped remove problem grass weeds like sterile brome.
Cover crops have become an integral part of the cropping regime. The benefits they convey to spring crops make their establishment worthwhile. Crops were notably greener during the dry weather as slow releasing nitrogen was available, while its artificial counterpart sat on the surface awaiting rain to wash it in properly.
This year, I will try some new species to assess their suitability and crimson clover seems to fit this profile. Early establishment is necessary to get these crops away quickly if the full benefits are to be realised in following crops.
A combination of an ideal growing season and low disease pressure has given our crops great yield potential. The greening effect of the SDHI chemistry is certainly apparent this season. Prospects are excellent for all crops and with the combines ready to roll, all I need now is plenty of good weather for August.
Arable farmer focus: Philip Reck